Our ability to sing a wide variety of songs at funeral services has led us to some unexpected gems and new favourites. Many of these started out as a one-off request for one family and have gone on to delight and comfort many others.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
One such request was for “Do not stand and my grave and weep” a setting of the popular funeral poem by composer Geoffrey Stephens, which featured on a Katherine Jenkins album. This was a natural fit for our classically-trained voices, but it’s a lovely tune by a man who also wrote songs such as “The Crying Game”, David Soul’s hit “Silver Lady”, and “Knock, Knock Who's There?”, the 1970 UK entry in the Eurovision Song Contest!
Another was far more out of our vocal comfort zone - the Rod Stewart classic “Sailing”. Singing a song made famous by a man with a voice containing more gravel than a Japanese garden was always going to be a challenge for soprano Toni. However, we found a terrific backing track, did some digital jiggery-pokery on it to radially change the key, and Toni breezed through the song, much to the delight of those at the funeral.
Fields of Gold
Toni’s latest pop triumph was “Fields of Gold”, but as sung by Eva Cassidy and not by Sting. For these kind of songs, we do refer first to the sheet music to learn the original tune, but if the family want a particulate version, then we graduate on to YouTube and live performances by the artist concerned.
Capturing Cassidy’s quirky rhythms, breathing patterns and ‘back beats’ (delaying some notes for poignant effect) involved literally hours listening to the original, transcribing the changes onto the sheet music, and then putting it all together to a backing track.
The result was a unique performance by Toni, which reduced the assembled mourners to tears for all the right reasons. It’s become one of our favourites and not something we ever thought we’d sing or even enjoy singing.
Special songs on request
If you would like a special song sung for a loved one, call us. We’ll be happy to talk through what you’d like and if it’s possible/feasible.
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All our articles are written either by Toni or Kirsty. If you'd like to write a guest blog, just let us know!